New Delhi: One fourth of the 100 coal-based power plants monitored by CEA are reeling under acute coal shortage with stocks to last less than four days, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said Monday.
"Out of 100 coal-based power plants monitored by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 44 power plants were having critical coal stock of less than seven days requirement, out of which 25 power plants were having super critical coal stock of less than four days requirement," Goyal said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
Out of the 25 thermal power plants (TPP) having super critical stock, four each are in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, three in Uttar Pradesh among others.
During the current year--(April to June)--the coal materialisation to the power sector has been 87 per cent, the minister said, adding that that shortage of supplies was on account of less supply of wagons and transportation constraints.
In order to view the coal supplies to power sector, an inter-ministerial sub group has been formed which has representatives from the three ministries--coal, power and Railways.
"The sub-group takes various operational decisions for meeting the contingent situations relating to the power sector, including coal stock position," Goyal said.
He said that in order to ensure adequate availability of coal for the power sector, Coal India (CIL) has been asked to enhance domestic coal production and power utilities have also been advised to enhance the import of fossil fuel.
"The target of e-auction of coal has been reduced to 25 MT and the balance diverted to the power sector," he said.
Further, CIL has offered all power generating companies drawing coal under fuel supply agreements, to lift coal on "as is where is" basis with stipulation that they will make their own evacuation arrangement. The scheme, which was earlier implemented by the coal companies, has been extended for the current fiscal also.
"A new inter-ministerial task force has been constituted to undertake a comprehensive review of existing coal sources and to consider feasibility for rationalisation of the sources with the view to optimising transportation cost," the minister said.
The government has taken various steps to ensure time-bound production which include efforts to expedite environment and forest clearances.
"Steps have been taken by Coal India Ltd and its subsidiaries to augment coal production which includes capacity addition from new projects and use of mass production technologies," Goyal said.